Police charge 5 Niles juveniles with skate park vandalism

Published 1:42 am Wednesday, September 15, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles City Police have identified and charged five juveniles in connection to the recent vandalism at the Niles Skate Park on Front Street.
School liaison officer Kevin Kosten interviewed students at local Niles schools where it was believed the vandals attended. One student informed Kosten that he had heard one of the suspects bragging about defacing the property at the skate park.
After interviewing that suspect, Kosten obtained a confession and that "got the ball rolling," said Capt. Jim Merriman of the Niles City Police Department.
The juveniles have been petitioned to appear in probate court. Two adults are also sought for questioning regarding the incident at the skate park.
Merriman also said that the parents of the juveniles should be held accountable for any expenses incurred during the graffiti clean up.
The park has been closed since Thursday, when the graffiti was discovered. Public Works Director Neil Coulston said there are no plans to open the park until the graffiti is removed.
Scott Bishop, owner of Bishop Sewing Systems, 105 E. Main St., Niles, stepped up and volunteered to clean up the graffiti.
Bishop, who is a lifelong resident of Niles, said that the park is just so important for the community.
Bishop thought he would be able to clean the graffiti off in one day, but found that the paint is not coming off easily.
Bishop got some help from another local business man. Ron Hack, owner of QRB Refinishing Products, 3139 Old U.S. 31 in Niles, donated a case of paint remover to the project.
Sunday, Bishop was out at the park again, trying to clean off the graffiti with a power washer one of his friends had loaned to him.
Bishop said he and some friends are researching other solvents and methods for paint removal, hoping to find a way to clean the graffiti off faster.
Bishop hopes to see the park open again in the near future, but without some help, it might not happen.
Coulston said any volunteers should call him and let him know they are interested. Coulston would like only adults to volunteer, as the clean up will require the use of many solvents and chemicals.